News from National -- Current Articles
Women in IT Management
Interview by S. Ibaraki, I.S.P.
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with Trish
Gulbranson, President of NetPro, a leading provider of directory
infrastructure management software.
Q: As a point of introduction, can you describe your career and the decisions
you made to reach your current position at NetPro?
A. I have been in finance since the start of my career. I spent six years in
the public accounting field, most notably with the ďBig 5Ē accounting firm of
PriceWaterhouseCoopers. I have spent the past six years at NetPro and have
worked my way up to the Presidentís position from my finance role in the
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to explore areas outside of
accounting and finance during my tenure at NetPro, and my decision to be
involved heavily in the operations of the business and work closely with the
team to achieve Company goals is what ultimately positioned me for my role as
I am also heavily involved in the software industry, serving on the
AZSOFT.net Board of Directors and leading the Software Associationís annual
equity conference for up and coming software companies.
Q: You have an outstanding record. What remarkable qualities can you share
that allowed you to achieve this stellar performance? What tips would you
provide to other executives?
A. NetProís success comes from being customer driven -- from listening to its
customer and delivering what they need. NetProís staff of dedicated employees
embodies that philosophy and executes on it every day. They have built our
outstanding record, and I am extremely proud and grateful to have the
opportunity to work with all of them.
My personal success is driven out of my passion to be the best that I can be.
I absolutely love my work and because itís fun for me, itís easy to work hard
and make a total commitment to the company.
The people who have touched my life as mentors, especially Joanne Carthey,
the former President & CEO of NetPro, have played a huge role in my
success. And, that feeds beautifully into my advice to other executives. My
advice is this: Listen to your customers, listen to those around you, and
listen to your mentors.
Q: Where do you see NetPro, strategically in 2001 and where do you want
NetPro to be in 2003, and 2005?
A. NetPro is the leader in the Directory Infrastructure Management space
today. With that expertise and a healthy list of 4000 customers, many from
the Fortune 1000, we are well positioned to expand our offerings. We have had
exceptional success in the Novell arena, and we now offer three products for
customers running Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. With the product breadth and
our reputation, we are ideally poised to achieve even greater levels of
Strategically, our success will come through a renewed leverage of the
channel, specifically through large systems integrators like Compaq and
ePresence. Growth and expansion into new areas will also be driven by our
strategic relationships with such industry partners as Quest and OpenNetwork
with whom we have signed lead referral and product integration agreements.
Over the course of the next three to five years, our goals include expansion
of products in the Directory Infrastructure Management space as well as
expansion beyond Directories into the broader Network Systems Management
space. We will do that through internal development of products, but also
through leverage of such partners as NT Sim, Inc., developers of
Q: How will NetProís services evolve over time for businesses and how will
you shape this process?
A. NetPro has a core group of professional services professionals who work
with our customers to ensure that our software is installed quickly and
efficiently. And because our products are easily installable and stable, our
customers donít require a great deal of training or consulting. For this
reason, we donít have any immediate plans to expand our services offering.
Q: How will NetProís partnerships and distribution channels evolve and how
will you direct this change?
A. NetPro is committed to building and leveraging our partnerships with both
technology partners and global reseller partners. In the past, we have sold
our software fundamentally through a well-trained direct sales force because
it was appropriate for the space in which we were operating. Now that we have
moved into the Microsoft space, the reach of a skilled integration channel
will be vital to our success.
Understanding this, we signed an agreement with Compaq last year that
formally integrated our software into its Windows 2000 service offering. Just
last month, we signed an agreement with ePresence, a leader in the Windows
2000 integration services space. And, weíre also signing some new and
exciting agreements with industry partners like Quest and OpenNetwork for
lead referrals and product integration. I will be driving this new focus on
the channel and vital strategic partnerships from my position as President,
leveraging our Vice Presidents of Sales and Strategy to ensure that our goals
Q: What is your grand vision for computing and the Internet and other related
technologies and how will you enable this vision for businesses?
A. The computing industry, and indeed the entire high-tech arena, is in the
middle of a significant shake up in the aftermath of the dot.com demise and
the economic downturn. However, computing is vital to the economy and to the
productivity of businesses throughout the world. And networking technology,
in particular promises to be a huge area of growth. We expect to see the
network and the Internet become one and become virtually invisible to the
user. And, through this evolution of the technology, computer services and
information will be always on and always accessible Ė from anywhere at any
time. Over time, we also see the network becoming more reliable and
self-correcting, and we are pleased that our software provides significant
value in this area by ensuring the reliability and performance of network
Q: What advise would you give to businesses as they plan their own evolution
in the next five years? Do you have specific technologies and processes they
should watch out for and implement?
A. Through all the growth and change of the coming years, fight like Hell to
maintain a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit and empowerment among your
employees. When they believe in the dream, they can achieve just about any
goal put before them. Processes are necessary, but be careful. They can
quickly turn an organization into an inefficient machine and result in the
loss of that critical entrepreneurial spirit.
Q: Can you describe your latest press release on providing predictive
modeling and what benefits can be had using this innovative technology? Can
you provide details, case studies, examples and models of its benefits? Where
do you see this technology evolving?
A. In our recent press release regarding DirectorySim, NetPro announced our
exclusive agreement to partner with the productís London-based developers to
sell the software. The most comprehensive solution available for modeling
Active Directory, DirectorySim has the potential to be one of our
best-selling products ever. Early customer reaction has been extremely
positive and the consultants who are heavily involved in Windows 2000
integration efforts are clamoring for it because it enables them to model the
Active Directory environment before rolling it out. It saves considerable
time and effort and it has the potential to bring huge cost savings,
particularly in the way of hardware expenditures.
Because the product is not yet shipping, there are no case studies available
at this time. However, we will make them available on our website as soon as
they are. We anticipate that DirectorySim will evolve over time to offer
modeling capability for other business-critical applications like SQL and
Outlook. And we are exploring options for integrating the software into a
suite of products that are designed to make the network self-aware and
self-maintaining. Stay tuned!
Q: How have you been able to leverage your education and what top 10 career
tips would you give to those considering a career in computing? What aspects
of your own personal experience and education did you find the most useful in
your own very successful career?
A. I graduated with a degree in accounting and my education and extensive
experience in finance has given me the opportunity to experience the Company
from a more global perspective. The accounting department in a company is
truly the linchpin of all of the different departments and it gives the
leader of the department the opportunity to participate on many levels.
1. Donít underestimate the people skills you will need. You can have a
brilliant technical mind and fail because youíre unable to relate to people.
2. Management isnít for everybody. Be comfortable in whatever role you
3. Listen to your customers, both internal and external.
4. Technology for technologyís sake is a recipe for disaster. For technology
to win, there must be a business need.
5. Assume that people that donít understand the intricacies of your
technology and leverage the people in your organization who can effectively
Q: What ten career pointers would you provide specifically to women?
A. 1. Speak Up- women are excellent business people, but sometimes lack the
confidence to just speak their mind.
2. Donít be afraid to take on new things. If you donít have the required
skills today, you can learn them as you go.
3. Network-in your industry as well as in your profession. It will have a
dramatic effect on your credibility.
4. Be decisive
5. You donít have to be loud and overbearing to be effective.
6. Stay on top of things in your industry by attending or helping drive local
and national organizations and activities.
7. Donít focus on gender differences
8. Get involved with outside groups that include at least some professional
women in various stages of their careers.
9. Work with a mentor, either male or female.
10. Have confidence in yourself. You can do it!
Q: Where do you see yourself personally in five years?
A. I see myself as the President of a Company in the technology sector.
Q: Traditionally there hasnít been a high penetration of woman in computing
and in executive management but the landscape is changing. What are your
views in this area?
A. Itís true. I recently returned from a Red Herring NDA conference for
executives on the Top 10 trends in technology. Nearly 95% of the attendees
were men. This may be due, in part, to the fact that few women pursue educations
in the fields of math, science and engineering. And, I believe that women in
general tend to be less assertive and confident than men. If they acted as
confident as their male counterparts, they might tip the scales a bit.
Q: Consider this a blank slate. Are there additional comments you want to
A. I am thrilled with the opportunity to become the President of NetPro, and
I am committed to ensuring its success through a formula of exceptional
products, outstanding customer care, and entrepreneurial spirit.